Island Escapes and Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Luxury Famil
A very lucky group of seven travel professionals flew Business class with Thai Airways to try and test an array of luxurious properties and activities around Thailand, reflecting Island Escapes strength as an upmarket Thailand wholesaler.
Our first day began after we had checked in at Siam Kempinski Bangkok. Its location is perfect – right in the heart of the city, connected to Siam Paragon shopping centre, and only a 2-minute walk to Central World shopping centre. Add to that the amazing service level of the staff and an absolutely fabulous Kids Club with its very own karaoke room and this property it ticks all the boxes for a stay in the nation’s capital.
The group then immersed themselves in a local activity, visiting the Klong Lad Mayom Floating Market- operated by Hivesters Tours. We were accompanied by such a knowledgeable local guide with good sense of humour. He introduced us to the remarkable Uncle Chuan who built and cleaned the waterways in this neighbourhood. He shared with the group how special HM King Bhumibol was to him and to all Thai people. His Majesty was described as an intelligent man, a selfless and kind being, who taught the locals how to simplify the septic drain link, which at the end helped Uncle Chuan succeeded in cleaning the area’s river. It was a long and mundane process that hinders many who helped him along the way, but Uncle Chuan did not give up, as he genuinely cared and wanted to make his village a better place. What a beautiful story, what a beautiful heart! A site inspection followed by a hosted dinner at the spectacular Vertigo on top of Banyan Tree Bangkok with GM John Neutze completed the group’s adventure to the city of angels.
The next day it was off to Phuket with Bangkok Airways. Inspection at Trisara and a fabulous Thai style lunch at Anantara Mai Khao at the generosity of GM Giles Selves, preceded our check in at Banyan Tree Phuket, another gorgeous property in the quieter Laguna area – only 30 minutes from Patong. This 3 part property set in lush fields and including a world class golf course covers an array of luxurious accommodation types. We were thoroughly spoiled by the team at Banyan Tree from our pool villa rooms to a delightful hosted dinner with DOS Nuchanart Sairhun. Sightseeing at Phuket Old Town and a local Thai dinner at Raya Restaurant completed day one of our Phuket stay.
Next day was an” island escape” to visit the charming Six Senses Yao Noi. True testament to Thai’s responsible and sustainable tourism with its organic garden, mushroom hut and chicken farm (where jazz music was played to enlighten the mood), this property is truly a sensory delight. We enjoyed a hosted lunch with acting GM Nicolette Wijers surrounded by the most breathtaking view from the dizzy heights of the Hilltop Reserve restaurant.
The following day was jam-packed with site inspections at Amanpuri (with a wonderful healthy breakfast courtesy of GM Paul Linder), the spectacular Trisara, the very unique Keemala where we enjoyed a beautiful lunch with GM Conor O’Leary and the soon the be opened Rosewood at Patong Kathu – showcasing the wonderful variety of accommodation in these more outer lying and not so well known areas of Phuket.
On finally checking in to Paresa Phuket, General Manager Dawid Koegelenberg told us to wear something comfortable and be ready at 6pm sharp that evening. We were treated to a stunning surprise as we experienced Paresa’s Romantic Beach BBQ. More than 300 candles were lit and laid along the beach to create the ambience and we had our own beautifully dressed musician playing gamelan, executive Michelin-star chef Jordi Claverol and his staff cooking, and a masseuse providing massage in between our delightful barbeque courses. What an absolutely amazing experience that was!
Perhaps it is the spectacular 360-degree ocean view, the gorgeous villas, fabulous private pool that attracts the guests. But our verdict says that guests return to this property regularly because they feel the Thai hospitality, the sensational and immaculate attention to details that bring the warmest feelings in their hearts.
Lucky last day was a fishing trip (also part of Paresa Resort’s top 10 activities) in a stylish yacht. Sipping Rose and witnessing the beauty of Phang Nga before taking a cooking class back at the resort rounded off another beautiful day.
That evening the group enjoyed a site inspection at Andara Resort & Villas, another spectacular property at Kamala Beach with an extensive range of 1-6 bedroom villas, followed by a progressive dinner over 3 locations – cleverly hosted by the GM Daniel Meury. We won’t forget that experience for a very long time.
Our last day saw us visit the stylish Sala Phuket where once more we were treated to a lunch of fabulous local cuisine and then it was with much sadness that we boarded our Thai Airways to return home.
To say that this was a once in a lifetime trip is an understatement.